Most taxpayers who file federal returns also must do the same for their state taxes. And most those state filings tend to conform to federal laws.
That means that, among other things, state deadlines usually are the same as the ones set by the Internal Revenue Service.
This year, it also means that state tax refunds, like their federal counterparts, are likely to be later than usual.
Feb. 15 delay for certain refunds: Millions of taxpayers who claim the federal Earned Income or additional child tax credits already are dealing with delayed refund checks from Uncle Sam.
The IRS is prohibited from issuing them before Feb. 15, and has warned that normal processing procedures are likely to push the actual delivery of affected refunds to the end of next month.
The mandated delay was created to give the IRS more time to double check filings for indications of tax identity theft and refund fraud.
Tougher state tax security, too: The same is likely to happen on the state level.
The IRS crackdown on tax fraud has prompted crooks to find alternative avenues. Many have shifted their felonious focus to tax refund fraud at the state level.
A recent LexisNexis report found that 86 percent of state government tax administration officials consider ID fraud a major problem within the state refund process.
To stem this growing trend, state tax officials are part of the IRS Security Summit team. As such, they are utilizing many of the same added anti-fraud techniques that the IRS employs.
And those procedures tend to slow down refunds.
Expected refund delays in 4 states: This filing season, tax officials in Georgia, New Jersey, New Mexico and Virginia have officially announced that their taxpayers will be getting their state refunds later than usual.
And the state tax offices are holding refund checks for the same underlying tax identity theft and refund fraud reasons as the IRS. Below is what those state officials have to say about this year's expected tax refund processing and refund delays.
Georgia Department of Revenue's fraud management system blocked more than $70 million in fraudulently filed refund requests from being released in 2016 and it is implementing additional security safeguards this year. Peach State tax officials say they will not begin processing 2016 individual income tax returns until Feb. 1. Taxpayers are warned that it could take more than 90 days from the day that the tax department receives a return for it to be processed and a refund issued.
New Jersey Division of Taxation officials say that they will issue refunds beginning on March 1. This delay is due to additional security tools that the Garden State tax office is using this filing season to fight tax ID theft and refund fraud. In addition, the N.J. tax office says that electronically-filed refunds may take a minimum of four weeks to validate and process. That process will take a minimum of 12 weeks for paper returns.
New Mexico taxpayers should be prepared to wait up to 12 weeks for their state tax refunds, according to that southwestern state's Taxation and Revenue Department. This maximum delay will affect state returns on which the tax department finds "potential for refund fraud." Plus, when a Land of Enchantment taxpayer's federal return is held by the IRS, any corresponding New Mexico refund claim will be held by the state until the IRS issue is resolved.
Virginia's state return deadline is not until May 1, but filing season is open now for Old Dominion taxpayers. Filing early, however, doesn't necessarily mean you'll get your refund quickly. The Virginia Department of Taxation says that "processing of some returns may take longer this year due to enhanced refund review and validation procedures."
Delayed state tax refunds are likely to be the nationwide norm this filing season. If you're depending on a state tax refund, check with your state tax department on its expected processing time this filing season.
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